The Guatemala Stove Project was founded in 1999 in response to a request for help from CEDEC, an indigenous non-profit group working in Guatemala’s ‘altiplano’ or Western Highlands. CEDEC identified the need for masonry cook stoves in the communities they serve, but residents lacked the material resources to build such stoves for themselves. In the first year under the guidance of mason Don Juan Puac, Perth carpenter Tom Clarke built 6 stoves. Since 1999, Tom and Canadian volunteers working on behalf of the GSP have fundraised for the construction of over 7000 stoves, which were built by local Guatemalan masons. These stoves dramatically improve the health, life expectancy and overall well-being of Maya families, especially women and children who spend the most time indoors around the cooking fire. Since the inception of the project, the GSP has also organized an annual stove-building trip to Guatemala every February for volunteers.
The GSP is volunteer-driven: the core activity is to build masonry cook stoves but over the years the GSP has helped to reduce poverty or suffering by addressing key priorities with the following initiatives: